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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Hera´kles is mentioned in , as the Tyrian god to whom the Jewish high-priest Jason sent a religious embassy, with the offering of 300 drachmae of silver. There can be little doubt that this Tyrian Hercules is the same as the Tyrian Baal, whose worship prevailed in the reign of Ahab, and was introduced directly from Phoenicia by Ahab's marriage with the Sidonian princess Jezebel ().

The power of nature, which was worshipped under the form of the Tyrian Hercules, Melkarth, Baal, Adonis, Moloch and whatever his other names are, was that which originates, sustains, and destroys life. These functions of the Deity, according to the Phoenicians, were represented, although not exclusively, by the sun, the influence of which both animates vegetation by its genial warmth, and scorches it up by its fervor.

Almost all that we know of the worship of the Tyrian Hercules is preserved by the classical writers, and relates chiefly to the Phoenician colonies, and not to the mother-state. The eagle, the lion, and the thunny-fish, were sacred to him, and are often found on Phoenician coins. Pliny expressly testifies that human sacrifices were offered up every year to the Carthaginian Hercules; which coincides with what is stated of Baal in , and with the acknowledged worship of Moloch.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Herakles'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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